Skip to main content

Full text of "The Gay Genius"

See other formats


LITERARY PATRIOTIC DUKE                      9

lifetime. Some of the best of Su's paintings and manuscripts were
carted north to enemy territory, together with two emperors who died
there in captivity. (Huitsung had resigned in favour of his son.) Still
hundreds of Su's manuscript items survived and were brought by their
owners to the south.

Now that Su Tungpo was dead and the storms of passion over
current politics were over, the emperors in the southern Sung dynasty,
sitting in the new capital of Hangchow, began to read his works, par-
ticularly his state papers, and the more they read, the more they
admired the intrepid patriotism of the man. One of his grand-children,
Su Fu, was given a high office in consideration of his illustrious grand-
father. All this leads to the final culmination of Su Tungpo's post-
humous fame and position. By 1170 the filial emperor Shiaotsung con-
ferred upon him the posthumous title of "Literary Patriotic Duke*'
and gave him the rank of Grand Imperial Tutor. The Emperor wrote
what remains to this day the best tribute to his genius. The imperial
decree and the Emperor's own preface to his Worlds stands at the begin-
ning in all editions of Su's Complete Wor\s. The imperial decree
conferring upon him the tide of Grand Imperial Tutor reads:

By Imperial Order: We come after the tradition of the hundred
sages and seek wisdom in the Six Classics. While desiring to pro-
mote the culture of ideas, our thoughts turn back to the great one
of the past. Although it is no longer possible to see him in person,
we have the works of this great man before us. We desire to confer
upon him the honour of an Emperor's teacher and exalt him to
leadership among the scholars.

The deceased, Su Shih, formerly Minister of Education, Scholar
of the Tuanming Palace, subsequently made Scholar of the Tsecheng
Palace and posthumously titled Literary Patriotic Duke, cultivated
the noble and upright spirit born in man and elevated to a higher
level of understanding the tradition of the past. His scholarship
was all-embracing, like the sea and the earth, and his words of advice
were like the striking of jade and bells. In literary eloquence he
can be compared to Mencius, and in political criticism he was not
second to Lu Chih. At the nation's height of literary prosperity
during Chiayu [reign of Jentsung] he was exalted to fame; during
the confusing changes of Shining [reign of Shentsung] he submitted
the principles for a lasting national prosperity. We sigh at the appear-
ance of such a rare genius and are shocked at his suffering from his
detractors. He was banished across the seas and mountains, but he
remained the same man as if he were holding power at the court; he
•studied the past and the present and his mind comprehended the laws
of the universe. What could not be taken away from him was his